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Result: Quail Championship Invitational

Location: Kevil, Kentucky

Post Date: Feb 15, 2023

Submitted By: William S. Smith

Quail Invitational championsF22

Quail Championship Invitational Winners (front row, from left): Scout Chris Cagle, Jr. with Champion Haney's Storm Warning and Scout Judd Carlton with Runner-up Champion Woodville's Yukon Cornelius. (Standing, from left): Judge Michael Kennedy, Trial Chairman Mary Sue Schalk, Judge Stan Wint, Chris Cagle Luke Eisenhart, Mark McLean, Haley Moore, Judge and Hall of Fame Inductee David Johnson, and Head Marshal Mike Crouse.

"It was a blustery morning on the first day of May 1866. Gathered at Cannock Chase, a beautiful country estate, near Stafford, England, were a number of Keen sportsmen; men who loved field shooting, pastimes in the open, and bird dogs. They met here on this early day in May for the purpose of competing their Pointers and Setters in actual competition in order to ascertain their real qualities as compared with one another.

This was not the first field trial that was ever seen in England, because the year before, a tentative event of this nature had taken place in connection with the Islington show at Southill. No reliable account of those first trials was ever published, however. Nevertheless, that initial venture created considerable discussion among bird dog owners, but the enterprise at Stafford the following year, although in actual fact the second field trial for bird dogs for which the public has knowledge, in reality may be taken as the starting point from where the great sport has grown and expanded.

As might be supposed, this being an experiment, the trials were more or less a crude affair, but the right spirit was behind them. Those men who ventured forth on this uncharted sea were resolved upon instituting a clean game in the realm of bird dog sports. At that period there were no public stud books, and dog shows had been instituted only a few years before. Therefore, the sportsman looking for a stud dog had no means to guide him than to follow the winners in each bench competition or take the owner's word for it in regard to the dog's field qualifications. Just as naturally, every owner saw his dog in the best light, considering that he had no means of comparing them with others in an organized contest." (National Field Trials, W. F. Brown pg. 13)

Field trials began to grow in popularity from these humble beginnings, and eight years later would cross the Atlantic Ocean to America. The first recognized field trial in America was held in 1874, just east of Memphis, Tenn., along with the renewals in 1875 and 1876.

Anyone quickly recognizes the Avent name in any way associated with field trials. James M. Avent, the Fox of Hickory Valley, had grown up with his dogs since he was not required to work at any job. He led a privileged life as a child of an affluent family. He spent his youth in the outdoors with his hounds and bird dogs. He was a breeder from an early age. He took his dog inside the classroom with him when he was only six years old with the edict from his father to his teacher, "the dog stays, or you go." His love of sporting dogs would never diminish, and it was a natural progression for him to enter the field trial arena.

The land around Hickory Valley, Tenn., and Grand Junction, only eight miles away, abounded with quail. Avent set out to promote the area to bring field trials to Grand Junction. It would take Avent until 1881 to see the first trial in Grand Junction. That was the year when P. H. Bryson of Memphis sought out Avent to engage his help in establishing field trials there. Avent laid out the courses, and his dream of field trials in Grand Junction became a reality. The trial was a huge success, and Avent's vision was one of the catalysts for the growth of early field trials in America.

Initially, all field trials were local trials. These trials were initially suitable, but the competition was only confined to local dogs. These trials existed for about 14 years until 1895, when Mr. W. W. Titus authored an article published in the American Field Magazine in which he proposed what would become the Field Trial Champion Association. Owners had begun questioning whether the existing competitions recognized the best of the competing dogs on a larger venue. Pointing dog trials were being contested at the time, but a championship trial still needed to be established, and therefore the best of the best could not be agreed upon. The Championship Association was formed, and the first meeting occurred in Newton, N. C., in November 1895. The new Association quickly formulated a plan to host the first championship stake, the National Championship. The inaugural running took place at West Point, Miss., on February 10, 1896. The goal of the National Championship was to "promote a championship through which superior bird dogs can be brought to the front; and that great quality--stamina--so necessary to a useful to a field dog, be encouraged."

The National heats were set at three hours, except for the 1902 event that featured three half-hour heats for the only time in the history of the occasion. There was no mistaking that it would test the stamina of any dog who completed the grueling 180 minutes. A second series was common in the early years, but a callback was not mandatory to be crowned the new champion. There are no qualifying series in the National because the dog entered has to be qualified beforehand, as determined by the National Championship Association before the dog enters the competition. The National Championship satisfied the participants that this stake was the ultimate in determining a dog's best attributes for about 20 years. Before 1916, discussions began of a more demanding event to test a bird dog's stamina and overall qualities. The debates led to the birth of the Free-for-All Championship, which was initially contested in 1916. The format was to have one-hour qualifying series and then a mandatory three-hour callback. The organizers of this arrangement agreed that this format would be a greater test of a dog's stamina, endurance, and desire. Any dog could be entered into the competition. All comers were welcome regardless of breed or field trial placements, as is the case today.

As time progressed, another trial to test a dog's stamina was introduced, and in 1935 the Continental Championship entered the endurance trial community. The format was for a one-hour qualifying series and then an hour and fifty-minute mandatory second series to determine the new champion. The National, the Continental, and the Free-for-All achieved the goals set to test the durability and physical challenge, the hunting desire, and the hunting in all weather conditions. As the sport continued to grow, talk began to question whether these three events determined the best of the best, as the requirements to enter were not overly restrictive.

The idea of a trial contested by invitation-only invitees began to take root. Those invited would be the dogs who were the most consistent winners on the circuit based on a point system developed by the host club. Members of the Southern Amateur Field Trial Club met in Albany, Ga., in the early years of the 1940's decade to hammer out the details. The trial would be contested over three successive days. A qualifying series of one-hour braces would be run the first two days. At the judges' discretion, three or more braces of a two-hour duration would be run on the third day to determine the winner. The field would be composed of the 16 dogs selected from the best performers on the circuit. Supposedly, the best, most consistent 16 dogs competing in field trials. The committee identified the trials designated as "points trials" to calculate the points earned by the placements in these trials. This new affair was christened the Quail Championship.

The inaugural running was held in Albany, Ga., on December 30, 1940. The winner received $1000.00, and the runner-up garnered $500.00. The judges were Emory Beetham of Cleveland, Ohio, and Henry Banks of Guerryton, Ala. The trial was run as advertised, and The Texas Ranger emerged as the 1941 Quail Champion. Jack Harper handled him for owner D. B. McDaniel of Houston, Tex. The runner-up was Tarheelia's Lucky Strike, handled by Earl Crangle for owner Gerald Livingston of Quitman, Ga.

The 1942 format was the same as the 1941 edition, except that all 16 dogs would compete all three days. Emory Beetham of Cleveland, Ohio, and Henry Banks of Guerryton, Ala., returned to judicate. Tarheelia's Lucky Strike had come close the previous year to gaining the top spot. He would not be denied again. He was declared the 1942 Quail Champion. Earl Crangle handled again for Gerald Livingston. Spunky Creek Nina, handled by O. S. Redman for owner L. A. Henning was named runner-up.

World tensions interrupted the running of the Quail Championship after the 1942 edition. It would be 22 years before the trial would be resurrected in a new location with an expanded name.

The establishment of the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area provided a venue suitable for championship-caliber field trials. The West Kentucky Field Trial Club had the vision to host an open stake known as the Kentucky Quail Classic, and in 1960 that vision became a reality. The club also had a secondary vision to rebirth the Quail Championship. In 1963, Purina established a Top Field Trial Dog award program which allowed a means to identify the
top performers of the field trial season. Consistency is the driving factor that allows these points to be harvested. With a points system in place, the club invited the top 12 performers to Paducah, Ky., to compete on the WKWMA grounds. The format would be the same as the '41 and '42 events. The dogs would compete in one-hour heats on successive days in the qualifying series. Then the dogs called back on the third day would run for two hours in the championship series. The ancillary vision of the West Kentucky Club was realized when the Quail Championship was resurrected as the Quail Championship Invitational on December 9, 1964. Currently, the Invitational is the only championship that requires a four-hour performance in three days.

The winner of the Quail Championship Invitational must demonstrate the requisite qualities of the all-age class at a high level.
The Invitational winner must:
*Hunt boldly and independently throughout--should not require excessive direction from the handler, *Demonstrate qualities of the finished dog by consistent coursing to logical objectives, responsiveness to the handler, and maintaining a forward pattern.
*Exhibit strength, courage, and an unquenchable desire to find game regardless of cover conditions--not simply choosing the easy path but hunting through habitat likely to hold game.
*Exhibit style, speed, and stamina in action.
*Handle game correctly--locate and point quickly and accurately using body, not ground scent, back without caution, be steady.
*Demonstrate extreme character and finish around game--style, intensity, location, and polish--must not show softness or apprehension.

The Quail Championship Invitational seeks to identify the epitome of the open all-age class of dogs, an individual with strength, courage, intelligence, and character at the highest level. A flawless performance of pedestrian quality should not be favored over one that, although imperfect, thrills with the magnitude of the effort. Above all else, the Invitational seeks to identify the endurance performer. If the judges are, to any extent, uncertain of the ability of an individual to continue at an all-age level of performance, then that dog should not be recognized as the Invitational champion. (The Invitational Champions, John Russell pg. xii)

The 2022 affair marked the 59th renewal of the Invitational. Mary Sue Schalk is the chairwoman of the Invitational. She is only the fourth of that distinction, succeeding Henry Weil, J. D. Boss, and John Russell.

The Quail Championship Invitational returned to the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area at Paducah, Ky., on November 26. The West Kentucky Field Trial Club again hosted the running. In addition to being the chairwoman of the Invitational, Mary Sue Schalk is also the club's president; Mike Crouse is the vice-president. The father/daughter team keeps the wheels running to ensure the trial runs smoothly. The club roster identifies the remaining members as Alan Benson, Don Wiggins, Michael Kennedy, B. J. Wright, Don Wiggins, Greg Veatch, Vincent Major, Gary Lester, Sarah Clary, and Joe Hopkins.

The trial is a Purina Handler of the Year and a Top Dog Award points trial. It is also a National Championship qualifier. The drawing was held Friday, November 25, at 6:00 p.m. at the clubhouse, and the ten pointer males and two setter males were paired for the two qualifying days' runnings.

Purina has been a consistent sponsor of this prestigious event for many years. Greg Blair coordinates Purina's donation of Pro Plan--one bag to each dog, eight bags to the new champion, and four bags to the runner-up. This year, they again stepped up to the plate by
underwriting the UKC web page ad. Purina's generosity is one of the reasons for the longevity of this significant and respected event. Thank you seems too little to say when Purina does so much for field trials.

SportDOG was the exclusive electronic dog trainer device sponsor this year. Our thanks go to Gretchen Goodson of SportDOG for making these trainers available. Both winning handlers were awarded their choice of the products donated.

Tim Kreher manages the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area. His workforce consists of only two other men, notably Wes Mason. Mason goes above and beyond during both events seeking feedback on efforts made throughout the year to manicure courses for horseback field trials. Their efforts to have the courses groomed and ready for the trial were exceptional. They were commended for their hard work.

As president, Mary Sue is responsible for the trial's success, but she gives credit to all that share in the duties. She makes every effort to ensure the success of the trial. She readily accepts the responsibility that comes with her position. She stated that her objective was to honor and respect everyone who comes to the trial, whether as a participant or someone who rides in the gallery. The Invitational is for people who love horseback field trials, and the Invitational is one of the greatest events in the history of field trials.

Mike Crouse served as the head marshal, keeping us on the correct path. His service was invaluable. Alan Benson and Dennis Sneed acted as the front marshals. They shadowed judges to ensure he was reunited with the judging panel if he was behind for any reason.

Mary Sue Schalk served as the rear marshal. She went with a handler to find a wayward dog to make sure the handler could find his way back to headquarters.

Vincent Major made his debut as the dog wagon driver last year, and since he did such a good job, he was asked to be the driver again this year, and he quickly agreed to do so. Vincent also contributed to the winners' circle hand tooling collars for the champion and runner-up and spur straps for the scouts. His talents did stop there, as he also made belts for the judges, reporter, and head marshal. Vincent was very popular, not only because he was punctual to have the dogs at the right place, but because he also had hot coffee and snacks. Everyone liked Vincent!

David Johnson returned from last year's assignment to officiate again. His service to the sport encompasses more than 50 years. He served most of that time as one of the elite scouts in the game. He went to work for John S. Gates in the early 1960s and spent his summers in the Gates summer training camp in Broomhill, Manitoba. When John S. retired, David worked for John Rex Gates and scouted some famous Gates' dogs. His next employment took him to Texas to work for Steven Harwood. When Mr. Harwood moved on to other interests, David worked for Steven Walker and scouted the Walker dogs that Bill Hunt handled. David then worked for T. Jack Robinson of Dayton, Tenn., where he still resides, overseeing the Robinson farms. He has seen it all and done it all.

Note: Immediately following the Quail Championship Invitational on December 1, 2022, the announcement was made that David Johnson would be inducted into the Field Trial Hall of Fame in February 2023. We are honored that he has served on the judicial panel for the past two years.

Dr. Stan Wint returned from Gardner, Kan., to complete his term as an arbiter of this event. He has been involved with bird dogs and field trials for over 30 years. He began his career in walking dog stakes and won his first championship in 1992. He has adjudicated in AKC trials, horseback shooting dog, and all-age American Field trials. His experience, coupled with his desire to recognize the qualities of an Invitational champion, made him highly qualified to fill a judicial saddle.

Michael Kennedy of Opelika, Ala., rounded out the judicial panel. His introduction to bird dogs was when he began to hunt with his walking dogs. He has trained his dogs for over 20 years. His field trial involvement was interrupted to dedicate his time to his wife and three young children. He has since been very active in field trials and has participated in all areas of administration and responsibility. His judging assignments have taken him outside Alabama. He has judged several major championships and many weekend trials. His experience well qualifies him for this assignment.

The dogs that accepted invitations this year were:
Lester's Shockwave, handled by Gary Lester
Lester's Storm Surge, handled by Gary Lester
Lester's Boss Man handled by Gary Lester
Bonner's Hot Rize, handled by Gary Lester
Touch's Fire Away, handled by Randy Anderson
Bonner's Bulletproof, handled by Randy Anderson
Game Wardon handled by his owner Dr. Fred Corder
Woodville's Yukon Cornelius handled by Mark McLean
Haney's Storm Warning, handled by his owner Chris Cagle
Erin's Atlantic Way, handled by Luke Eisenhart
Erin's Perfect Storm, handled by Luke Eisenhart

Participants, guests, and volunteers were happy to return to the clubhouse on Friday, November 25, after a two-year hiatus, for a sumptuous "Southern Style" meal catered by Mr. Byron Caldwell. Dinner included greens, ham, beans, cornbread, and bread pudding. The silent auction has become a tradition to offset costs for the three events and would not be possible without contributions from businesses and individuals. This year we had several contributors, including Dogs Unlimited, Brad Harter, The Farmer's Daughter Boutique, Martha Veatch, Wonder Spot Bengals, Vincent Major, Matt Schalk, Janice Benson, Mike Crouse, Laura Lester, and Don Wiggins. The proceeds of the auction provide financial assistance for the operation of the trial. Thank you all for your generosity.

The evening concluded with the drawing for the Quail Championship Invitational conducted by Mike Crouse. Conducted with order and precision, Mike was assisted by Clay Duncan, an attorney from the Nashville area. Clay, and his father, Chip, helped prepare for and conduct the drawing handling the minute details of typing the running order and completing judges' books; much welcome assistance for a tedious task!

The Winner
Twelve exceptional bird dogs, identified as indicated above, came to Paducah on November 25 to compete in this 2022 Championship. Among those invited was a precocious pointer male named Haney's Storm Warning. At the tender age of three, he was one of the youngest in the field, and last season as a juvenile, he had been heralded by many as a young Adonis in bird dogs. Piloted by his amateur owner Chris Cagle and scouted by Chis' son, Chris Jr., for three days over the four-hour event, he verified the foreshadowing that followed him as a juvenile and then some. His performance was brilliant and was one of the best seen on these grounds.

Joining Warning in the winners' circle was a young setter, Woodville Yukon Cornelius, as runner-up. Cornelius was handled by Mark McClean and scouted by Judd Carlton. Cornelius improved each day and bested ten others to earn his spot. His effort was solid and praiseworthy. The judges had called back four and placed two on standby. The two placed were the only two of the four callback dogs who finished, and after the four hours on Monday, the judges stated we could go to the clubhouse for the announcements.

Deserving of mention is a young professional bird dog trainer now in Danceyville, Tenn., named Ike Todd. Ike developed both the champion and the runner-up. Quite a distinction. Ike and his bride Marty live near Danceyville, and both are known for hard work, honesty, talent, and more. Great to see these two involved in horseback field trials and Ms. Marty in the classroom with youngsters when she is not outdoors.

The Running
Day One

Anderson had Bonner's Bulletproof braced with Lester's Storm Surge, handled by Lester, in the first brace. Proof rendered a hunting effort with three backs. Surge was strong on the ground and had two finds with a third stand where nothing was seen officially.

In the second brace, Lester returned with Lester's Shockwave and joined Eisenhart, who brought Erin's Perfect Storm. Little was seen of Shockwave. Storm impressed with three finds, one unproductive and a handling, forward, reaching race.

The third brace had Corder with Game Wardon facing Cagle and Haney's Storm Warning. Wardon rendered a hunting effort with one find. Warning scoured the countryside, forward, classy, responsive, carded two stylish quail finds and a mannerly piece of work on a brace of turkeys. He finished well forward as the hour closed, earnestly continuing his search.

After lunch, McClean released Touch's Malcolm Story with Lester, who released his third entry, Lester's Boss Man. Little was seen of Story, and McClean requested his tracker at 45 to remove Story from competition in this event. Boss was strong on the ground and carded one find.

Brace No. 5 saw Anderson with his second entry, last year's winner, Touch's Fire Away, running with the second Eisenhardt entry, Erin's Wild Atlantic Way. Fire Away was classy, forward, and had two finds. Way was also competitive with a merry way of going, one find, and a back.

The final brace of the day featured McClean's second entry, Woodville Yukon Cornelius, with Lester's fourth entry, Bonner's Hot Rize. Cornelius was forward, classy, and recorded one find. Rize did not find game and finished his hour.

Day Two
Sunday morning began with Fire Away for Anderson, and Lester had Hot Rize. They were forward and earnest for the opening hour. The second brace was brief. Malcolm Story was out due to early tracker use on day one. Eisenhardt started Atlantic Way and called for his tracker at 30.

The third brace brought Boss Man for Lester and McClean with Yukon Cornelius. Man rendered another strong ground effort, complimented with one find. Cornelius was stronger on the ground and carded two finds.

Next came Eisenhart with Perfect Storm and Lester with Storm Surge. Both were again strong on the ground, with Storm tallying two finds and Surge one. Anderson scratched Bulletproof with limber tail, and Corder harnessed Wardon at 30.

Cagle brought Storm Warning, and Lester released Shockwave to conclude the day. On an unusual day for the Invitational, we awaited Warning, particularly for day two. He did not disappoint. Shockwave was seen little, and the tracker was requested. Warning showed his
versatility and composure by delivering a thrilling hour of classy forward running to the limits of his course and registering five finds. His hour was among the finest ever witnessed at the Invitational!

The Championship Series
On Monday, little was seen of Storm Surge, and Lester ultimately requested the tracker. The Cagles and Storm Warning continued in the previous two days' vein with classy, responsive forward running and another solid bird score. Accolades to Judd Carlton, riding in the
gallery awaiting the second brace, for calling point for Warning for his fourth find at 1:58. It was a fitting conclusion to four hours from Warning and his team. Eisenhart and Perfect Storm paired with McClean and Cornelius for the second two-hour stint. Storm was not in sync, and at the hour mark, Eisenhart harnessed him. Cornelius and McClean carded several finds, and the setter proved equal to the two-hour test. After the second two hours, the judges briefly consulted and advised us to move to the clubhouse for announcements.

Chairman Schalk graciously concluded the Invitational for 2022 with appropriate thanks to many. Then she announced our new champion, Haney's Storm Warning, handled by Chris Cagle Sr. and scouted by Chris Cagle, Jr. Our runner-up was Woodville Yukon Cornelius, handled by Mark McClean and scouted by Judd Carlton. A field trial is a great game that cannot be permanently won or lost, only played. It is a test...

Kevil, Ky., November 26
Judges: David Johnson and Michael Kennedy
on Consecutive Days; Two-Hour Finals] - 12 Pointers

Winner--HANEY'S STORM WARNING, 1691416, pointer male, by ValiantHaney's North Star. Chris Cagle, owner and handler.
Runner-Up--WOODVILLE'S YUKON CORNELIUS, 1673091, setter male, by Caladen's Davinci-A Tarheel Miss Bo. Carl Owens, owner; Mark McLean, handler.

Quail Ch Chris sport DogF22

(From left): Chris Cagle, Jr., and Mark McLean choose from various items donated by SportDOG Collars. Special thank you to Gretchen Goodson with SportDOG Collars for making this a possibility for our event.